So I only have the time left in a playground outing of the hubby and kids to write, but there are a few stories that bear discussion this week...
1. R.I.P. Warren Rudman - Warren Rudman was a Republican Senator from New Hampshire, one who earnestly sought progress and bipartisan governance. He resigned from the Senate after two terms because he said it was too partisan and fractious.
He was well-known for his work in Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, which established some bipartisan (Hollings was a Democrat from South Carolina, Gramm a Republican from Texas) budget processes to try to tame budget deficits in the mid-1980s. Those processes were about... raising the debt limit. They would have created mandatory sequestrations by the Comptroller General, but they were found unconstitutional (as was the Line Item Veto - which was not in GRH but was also supposedly a method for achieving budget sanity, though at the same time a large grant of presidential power). Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) also penned budget control measures in the same era.
Rudman later served in a Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under President Clinton. And he helped steer the Iran/Contra Hearings with Senator Inouye (D-HI), producing a bipartisan document that said Reagan officials knowingly violated the law (hence the Bush Pardons). Rudman supported aid to the Contras, but famously said (and here you will hear echoes of C.J. Roberts from the Affordable Care Act decision - "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."):
"The American people have a right to be wrong,” he told Colonel North. “And what Ronald Reagan thinks or what Oliver North thinks or what anybody else thinks matters not a whit. There comes a point when the views of the American people have to be heard.”
At this time when we are talking about budgets and how to find bipartisan solutions in an increasingly partisan Congress and increasingly partisan media coverage, it's probably a good idea to think and talk about Rudman and what we can do to achieve actual, bipartisan, constructive governance in Congress. I say bring back PAYGO (which required offsets for spending increases), but include offsets for tax cuts, too.
2. Senator Chambliss Shows Real Guts. In the vein of Warren Rudman - and surprisingly to me from the guy who went after Max Cleland in a shameful manner while running for Senate - Senator Chambliss has been one of the first Republicans to try to use this election and our fiscal situation to show Grover Norquist the door. (Woo-Hoo! I may have just gotten one right.) While Some Rs Are Trying to Leverage Elimination of Parts of Obamacare into Tax Cuts, Senator Chambliss said:
"I care more about this country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge. And I care about the country we're going to leave our children and grandchildren. If we do it his way then we'll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that."
Does Chambliss think Norquist will hold the anti-tax pledge against him during his next re-election bid in 2014? Yes.
"But I don't worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist, and right now we've got an issue of how we're going to figure this out, and it's kind of interesting - Grover Norquist has no plan to pay down this debt down, his plan says you continue to add to the debt - and I just have a fundamental disagreement with him about that. And I'm willing to do the right thing and let the political consequences take care of themselves. If we get this country back on track, that's the most important thing, and the politics will follow that."
3. And Finally, Do You Want Some Colossally Bad Parenting Advice? Hey, do you ever feel bad about your parenting? This Slate article will cure what ails you. It's full of some very strange parenting advice, from the current to the old-fashioned.